WAUKEE, Iowa — The city of Waukee is experiencing historic growth and now history has been made in the seat for mayor.
“That`s pretty exciting. I think the community needs a little more diversity representation there,” said Carlee McKibban.
With current council member Courtney Clarke beating out fellow council member Shelly Hughes for mayor, it is the first time the city has elected a female mayor. “It`s kind of a big political movement right now for women to have more positions of power. It`s great to be a woman and see women like me taking candidate offices,” said Mackenzie Kaplan.
Zachary Nelson is a senior at Waukee High School. “I had my birthday recently and I wanted to learn about the candidates so I can vote,” Nelson said. Being a part of history in his first voting experience has been exciting. “Female officials are being elected and I think it`s a great thing,” said Nelson.
A new chapter will also begin on the Waukee School Board. “Voting is important for everyone, not just for me, for everyone. Change is good,” said Hariesh Bahtia.
Six candidates were jockeying for three open seats on the school board. The final vote proved victorious for Wendy Marsh, Dan Gehlbach and Alex Smith. “It`s going to allow a lot of new ideas to come flowing through,” added Nelson.
Voters say a recent scandal involving the school district`s former COO Eric Rose has triggered a need from the community. “I think everybody is hoping for transparency,” said McKibban.
In April, Rose pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of soliciting a felony and felonious misconduct in office. Three lawsuits from employees who blew the whistle on Rose claimed they were retaliated against. The district was forced to shell out $2.1 million in settlements. Kaplan said, “It`s very important right now to know what their money is going for in school funding.”
Tuesday delivered a new wave of city leaders that voters hope can usher in a new era for Waukee. “I think it`s exciting to see different people running, and the demographics of Waukee are changing, so it`s nice to see different representation to mirror that,” said McKibban.